Pituitary Tumor Team


The UC Brain Tumor Center is home to one of the nation’s most experienced pituitary tumor teams, headed by UC Health otolaryngologist Lee Zimmer, MD, PhD.

Our long tradition of excellence in skull base surgery was established in the 1990s by Myles Pensak, MD, the H.B. Broidy Professor and Chair of UC’s Department of Otolaryngology, and John M. Tew, MD, UCNI’s Clinical Director. Today our status as one of most forward-thinking skull base teams in North America continues with Drs. Zimmer, Tew, Norberto Andaluz, MD, and Mario Zuccarello, MD.

Our pituitary team also includes specialists in endocrinology, ophthalmology, radiology and radiation oncology. These specialists gather each week at the Multidisciplinary Tumor Board Conference, where individual cases are presented. With each case presentation, the specialists discuss, debate and ultimately recommend a course of action that will optimize the care of each patient. In addition to generating a treatment strategy, Tumor Board gives reassurance to local patients as well as those who consult us from afar.

Because patients with pituitary tumors are treated by more than one specialist, the UC Brain Tumor Center offers “one-stop-shop” appointments with various specialists so that multiple trips are not necessary.

Dr. Zimmer, pictured at left, and his colleagues have explored new pathways, or approaches, to tumors through the skull base by following natural anatomical corridors and landmarks. They are solving problems endoscopically – with incisionless surgery through the nostrils – that previously were performed through an opening in the skull. Using these pathways causes minimal disruption of tissue and helps patients have faster recoveries, Dr. Zimmer explains.

Dr. Zimmer begins a procedure by entering the skull base via the nostrils with an endoscope, a long narrow tube with a light and camera at the end. He and his neurosurgical team then use additional tools to remove the pituitary tumor, often in less than an hour.

Patients who are not candidates for minimally invasive surgery may be treated with radiation therapy at the Precision Radiotherapy Center in West Chester, Ohio. Patients also may be treated with radiation if their pituitary tumor comes back or causes persistent symptoms.

Whether the treatment involves surgery or radiation, seamless follow-up care is provided by UC Health endocrinologists.

The UC Brain Tumor Center’s pituitary team congratulates former team member Philip Theodosopoulos, MD, who recently was named Vice Chairman of Clinical Affairs in the Department of Neurosurgery and Director of the Skull Base Surgery Program at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF).  His position is an endowed full professorship.

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